Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Introducing "Evernote for Education" via Citelighter - Never Write Another Bibliography

Find, capture, organize, and cite information from anywhere on the web.  
Never write another bibliography again!

.

How can Citelighter help my students?

After students highlight and grab the information they'd like to use, they can add personal comments below their pasted material they just grabbed. I especially believe in this feature because students can add their thoughts as they're working. Reading is thinking. Thus, as they're brainstorming and pulling information together, they're able to include personal reflections along the way. All of this information is safely placed into the Citelighter website. Now, you never have to hear "I left my flashdrive at home" or "I know I emailed it to you...." Everything is accessible in the cloud!

Citelighter is like the Evernote of Education!

Citelighter is Free for Everyone.  You can upgrade to a Pro account.

or

The first 40 people to sign up get a Pro account for Free.  



Follow these simple steps to begin your stress free journey to learning:
The first 40 to sign up get upgraded to a FREE Pro account!
  1. click here to sign up for free (select the green 'get started' button)
  2. complete the short form: your email and password
 - be sure to answer the question "How did you learn about Citelighter"
-  answer "From a Blog" and under that prompt... type in TBA
-  first 40 users will be upgraded to a Pro account!!!

Read more about Citelighter on Teaching Blog Addict by clicking here.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Love Your Teeth! Toothbrushing Made Fun!

Can brushing your kid's teeth and taking them to the dentist actually be fun? 

Yes!!!!!


Parents know that a lifetime of effective oral health care habits start with brushing daily as a child. LoveYourTeeth.net provides a fun, free, and non-commercial teeth brushing chart for anyone to use to help motivate children to have good brushing habits. The LoveYourTeeth tool allows you to print a chart customized with your childs name that is more than just a traditional behavior chart. Children can track their progress every day on their special chart, all the while working towards completing the chart and winning a "prize". The greatest prize of course, is healthy teeth and a solid foundation for a lifetime of wellness.

You can see it in action here.

Teachers can get involved too, as there are charts available for an entire classroom which can be personalized for student, classroom, or school.









A Public Service by Dentist Advisor

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Toontastic: Story Elements for iPad

Toontastic is an award-winning app by LaunchPad Toys.

You can download Toontastic for free in your iTunes store.  Children will have endless fun while incorporating story elements into their personal creations.  Once they've selected their setting, characters, and music, students can narrate their story and select the moods of their character to match the exposition, climax, or solution.  They can even match music to the different elements of the story to engage their audience.  You have the option to share your product and gain an authentic audience, too!


Support our Sponsors
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Introducing Learning Resource's brand new Interactive White Board: now!Board


How would you like an Interactive White Board for $399?

Most interactive white boards cost around $2000.  There are more affordable IWB products such as the Mimio; however, you're still going to pay around $800.  As a partner of Learning Resources, I was asked to introduce the launch of their newest product, the now!Board, an interactive white board.  Of course, I was excited to introduce a new product from one of my favorite companies; however, being a SMART Exemplary Educator, I had a few reservations.  So... I asked my contact if she could send me the product to try out, and I set it up in my home office.


Interactive.  Portable.  User-Friendly.  Affordable

(click play below)





My Overall Thoughts on the new now!Board...

As a teacher and blogger, I believe in the importance of being honest regarding products I review or give-away.  In fact, I often turn away offers to review or give-away sites and/or products simply because I don't believe they're a good fit for my target audience.   On the other hand, I also like to support start-ups and companies to launch new products.  Regarding the interactive white board industry, my loyalty belongs to SMART Technologies for the following reasons: Notebook software is unmatched by any IWB on the market, the functionality is the most user-friendly for teachers and students, and SMART Exchange is wicked - tons of free resources!  Additionally, I am a certified national presenter for A Plus Workshops and SMART Technology.  However, I do realize that for many schools, districts, and homeschooling environments, the price point for a SMARTBoard may not be in the budget.  Now, there is an option for those who would like to have the benefits of IWB technology without breaking the bank. 

The now!Board is easy to hook up and install.  All I had to do was open the box, install the software, and plug in one cord from the camera to my computer.   That's it... 

Once the now!Board software was opened, I was able to write on the interactive white board, IWB, and interact with certain Internet sites to further my learning and engagement.  


Advantages:
  • affordable
  • portable
  • user-friendly
  • easy to install and get started
  • can save your lessons/notes
Disadvantages:
  • not a touch interface (you must use a stylus)




What’s so different about now!Board?

First, it’s portable. Now you can fit an IWB in your book bag! Second, you don’t even need a board. In fact, there’s nothing you have to attach to a wall.

With now!Board, a projector and a PC/Mac…
·         any flat surface becomes an IWB
·         any classroom is transformed into an interactive space.
·         and collaboration, creativity and interactivity can happen anywhere!

now!Board will retail for $499 and will be available in April, 2012.



Are interactive white boards worth the money?
and
Which one should I buy for my classroom?
 
During trade shows and while stopping by exhibition halls, I've been able to work with a variety of interactive white boards.  I also have a few friends who use Mimio and Polyvision products.   Quite frankly, in order to be an 'interactive' white board, one must actually interact with the board... not simply display information or have a 1:1 ratio of user to board interaction.  It's important for the learners to be the users of the product.  Therefore, there has been a lot of resistance and backlash to the interactive white board market and it's actual place in today's classrooms.  One of my favorite articles is: The $2 Interactive Whiteboard - Are they worth the money?

Balance is the key to any interactive learning environment.  Interaction can be facilitated in a number of ways whether using technology or not.  Personally, I believe in technology integration within the classroom because it streamlines my instruction and allows for extending our learning.  For example, I can streamline my instruction by having my notes (examples/anchor charts/graphic organizers) saved, splitting my screen to cross compare, dragging multimedia directly into the lesson (video clips, websites to reinforce the concept, etc...), and having a pace established as we progress through the lesson by having my material all in one place - ready.  We can also extend our lesson by virtually visiting places within our stories, connecting globally with friends in other regions, and allowing our senses to naturally guide our thinking - through touch.

Because balance is key, we use dry erase boards and expo markers, magnets and cookie sheets, pencil and paper, iPad/iPod technology, SMART Board technology, computers, a projector, our document camera, crafts to construct, peer dialogue and conversation, and more.  I do feel fortunate to teach in an environment that provides such resources.  I couldn't imagine having to give up any of the resources I'm use to having at my fingertips - including my interactive white board.

Our interactive white board is not the 'end all be all' or magic little answer to our academic success - it's simply a tool to enhance our learning.  Some days we use our IWB all day and other days we hardly turn it on... it simply depends on what the learning objectives are for the day.  I don't wear my tennis shoes every day - only when the activity fits the accessory.

I understand the debate surrounding interactive white boards.  Though I honestly feel as though the conversation stems from the cost.  If the price point of an IWB were lower, I'm confident we'd all agree that they are 'worth the money' - providing that they didn't monopolize the instruction... creating a 'sage on the stage' rather than a 'guide on the side.'  This is precisely why I'm thankful that Learning Resources is launching the now!Board, priced substantially lower than other interactive white boards on the market. 

If you're considering an interactive white board for your school or classroom, I highly recommend using SMART Technology.  If this is not an option for your school or district, the only other board I would even consider is the now!Board.  There is no way that I would pay the high price for any other board other than a SMART Board.  I was happy with how quick, easy, and functional the now!Board was to set up, use, and engage with.

The Big Drum Roll now...

Learning Resources is giving-away $100 to shop their site!

- you may use the $100 any way you wish
get $100 off your IWB or shop for their great classroom products

That's right... you can now get your interactive white board for $399!



How do you enter to Win a $100 from Learning Resources?
*leave a comment here for each item you complete as a chance to win*

  1. click here to Like now!Board on Facebook
  2. click here to share your thoughts in a YouTube comment
  3. click here to follow me on Pinterest
  4. click here to Like Kleinspiration on Facebook
Four Fantastic ways to Win $100

*winner announced February 11, 2012*

Winners Announced: Pink Tiara & Changing Kids Lives


Congrats to Mike, comment #2 the winner of this great book and cookie cutter giveaway:




Mike, please email me at erinklein12@gmail.com to claim your copy.  For everybody else, don't forget you can purchase an autographed copy from the author here.




And our second great book giveaway today: Changing Kids Lives One Quote At A Time, by Steve Reifman, has two winners.  Congrats to Sheila and Miss L.  Please email me at erinklein12@gmail.com to claim your books.





For those who didn't win, Amazon links to purchase are below.  Congrats to the winners and many thanks to the authors for participating in these giveaways.





Giveaway via TBA: Brain Tower

Two Words for You....

Brain Tower

 What is it?

An educational game that builds similar to Jenga but allows you to write on it and erase as well. Adrianne at KidsCogWorks sent me a game for me to try out at home. I wasn't sure what to expect, but was so excited when I opened the package.  It's very cute, and also an effective teaching tool.   
Each block has an eraseable fit about practicing sight words, you could write them on these blocks and it becomes something fun. No more dreadful whining!
Brain Tower has so many possibilities. Here's just a few that I can think of:
  • Reading: sight words, phonics, rhyming words
  • Vocabulary: any subject
  • Math: addition, subtraction, fractions, algebra
  • Science: terminology
  • History: facts, names and dates
  • Party games: action phrases, truth or dare



There are many more ways than the ones I've listed. Adrianne has a page on her blog where you can submit ways you have thought of playing Brain Tower. Another great thing about this game is you could use it in centers, one on one, tutoring...maybe even homework time.

The Best Part...

Adrianne wants everyone to be able to have one in their classroom. She is currently giving away two games to Teaching Blog Addict readers who sign up through her blog, and you can also order one from her blog shop, and she will give you 15% off if you do the following very simple 3 things for her.

1. Facebook, Twitter, or Blog about Brain Tower. 
2. Subscribe to her Newsletter
3. Follow her blog.

Very simple.  Write about it (you could even RT the tweet that comes from this post), subscribe, and follow. 

Check out her video here on my blog and then head on over to  KidsCogWorks  to get your own Brain Tower today. I know you'll love it because I do too.








Kids Cog Works
 
 



TBA

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Everything's Kindergarten



Dreary weather, papers to grade.  What to do on this lovely Saturday afternoon?  Here's a tip: there's just one hour until the Everything's Kindergarten Expo launches.  There are some excellent Kindergarten teachers getting ready to spend their Saturday morning and afternoon sharing tips, secrets, and goodies with you.  And there is still time to register here





Everything Kindergarten is the latest Virtual Teaching Expo brought to you by Teaching Blog Addict and Teacher's Notebook.



Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The Curiosity Cycle: Preparing for the Technological Explosion




In The Curiosity Cycle: Preparing Your Child for the Ongoing Technological Explosion, colleague and author Jonathan Mugan explores the curious nature of children, the changing times, and how we can help them use that curiosity to their advantage in the ever changing technological landscape.


You can view a preview of Jonathan's book here, or purchase at Amazon.  The book is an excellent read for parents and educators alike.





About the Author:  Jonathan Mugan is a research scientist focusing on machine learning. He received his Ph.D. in Computer Science from the University of Texas at Austin. His thesis was centered in developmental robotics, which is an area of research that seeks to understand how robots can learn about the world in the same way that human children do. He received his B.A. in Psychology from Texas A&M University.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Announcing Really Good Stuff's Reach for the Stars Monthly Challenge

On the 20th of each month, Really Good Stuff is giving back to teachers.  They're selecting one grand prize winner each month to win a $200 gift certificate and 5 winners that will receive a $20 gift certificate.

Simply click here to enter.  You'll fill out a brief form to enter your contact information along with a maximum 100 word essay.  You can be creative with your entries: poetry, rap songs, stories, etc...  You must have your entry submitted by February 15.  This month, the topic is classroom management.  Please click here for full details on the Reach for the Stars Monthly Challenge.



Also, please click here to read my recent article posted on Really Good Stuff regarding assessment and standardized testing.

Life Gives You Lemons?



Alex's Lemonade Stand is a wonderful charity fighting childhood cancer "one cup at time".  Since the very first lemonade stand to fight cancer, set up by Alex herself in 2000, this great charity has raised over $50 Million and inspired 20,000 more stands to help:

• Fund more than 200 cutting-edge research projects

• Create a travel program to help support families of children receiving treatment

• Develop resources to help people everywhere affected by childhood cancer

Alex


For more information on this charity, and on the books Alex and the Amazing Lemonade Stand and The Lemonade War, and how you and your school can participate in this great cause, you can visit my post on Teaching Blog Addict.


Monday, January 23, 2012

Worth Ave. Group is giving teachers over $150,000 in grant money - enter now to win!


The Worth Ave. Group is Supporting Teachers & Technology

The Worth Ave. Group provides insurance to schools with electronic devices.  They can cover a range of all electronic gadgets from iPads to laptops.  The great team at Worth values the integration of technology into the classroom, and they're literally giving away thousands of gadgets to teachers to help support student learning.  

Here's How to Win

For a chance to win all you need to do is nominate a teacher at your school for "Best Teacher in America."  That teacher will need to continue to collect nominations during the voting period. The school who has the teacher with the most nominations wins the grand prize. The school who has a teacher finish 2nd-6th place will receive one of 5 second place prizes. The voting has just begun and ends March 31, 2012.

So, what are the Prizes?

Grand Prize:
  • $25,000 Technology grant for your school
  • iPad 2
  • 30 iPod Touch units
Second Prize: (there will be 5 winners)
  • $1,000 Technology grant for your school
  • iPad 2
Voter Prize: (there will be 10 winners)
  • 5 iPad 2 devices to randomly selected voters 
  • 5 iPad 2 devices to randomly selected people who referred a teacher
Second Voter Prize: (there will be 5,000 winners)
  • WorthTrack laptop tracking software - value: $29.95 each

Contest Ends March 31, 2012




Sunday, January 22, 2012

American Girl Books: A Smart Girl's Guide


As parents, we often find ourselves confronted with situations that can be challenging to explain to our young daughters.  I recently struggled to find the right words to explain to my 7 year old daughter when she was concerned about a few mild social issues.  Thankfully, I was able to reference a scenario in one of her American Girl books.  Perhaps it's the teacher in me to turn to a 'mentor text.'  -- but, if it works...

As girls begin to progress through different grade levels, the social scenarios begin to become more significant in volume and vary by circumstance: who is friends with who... or who isn't friends with who, who was or wasn't invited to what party, or any other number of situations that may become present.

Thankfully, we've come across the American Girl Book series, which speaks in a manner that a young girl can understand but still gets to the heart of the issues. 


You can view the American Girl website here.

Below are some of Riley's personal favorites selections:

A Smart Girl's Guide to Manners (American Girl) (American Girl Library)

A Smart Girl's Guide to Friendship Troubles

Oh, Brother... Oh, Sister (American Girl)

What Would You Do? (American Girl)

Stand Up for Yourself and Your Friends: Dealing with Bullies and Bossiness and Finding a Better Way


Another great feature of this series is that the books continue to grow with your baby girl. 
Here are a couple selections for those who have a daughter approaching middle school age.


A Smart Girl's Guide to Starting Middle School (American Girl) (American Girl Library)

A Smart Girl's Guide to Money (American Girl) (American Girl Library

A Smart Girl's Guide to Boys (American Girl) (American Girl Library)


I'm sure that anybody with a young daughter will find some great selections here.  The first time I went to their website, I went just for one book, and I ordered 5.  I could have probably ordered about ten more just on looks alone without ever reading one.  The concepts were exactly what I was looking for.   

When we got them home, we found the best part was that my daughter loved the books, understood the advice, and could apply the material to every day situations.  Most of the selections are affordable--under $10, full of pictures and easily applied strategies for being a better you.  

These are a must have for anyone with daughter - especially those who have daughters who are headed into the tween or pre-tween years.


Disclosure: This blog is a member of Amazon Associates. 

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Giveaway: Changing Kids' Lives One Quote At a Time

What we're giving away?

2 copies of the Inspirational Character book Changing Kids' Lives One Quote At a Time by Steve Reifman

What is it?

An inspirational book which helps develop great habits in our students and children.  This book is wonderful for both students and parents alike, and includes key teaching points following the inspirational quote.

What a great way to think creatively and promote positive environments!



How do you enter for this give away?
2 simple steps

1. Simply Follow Steve Reifman on Twitter, where he shares great information, strategies, and projects: click here





2. Sign up for the Kleinspiration Newsletter: click here




*be sure you're a follower of this blog to be eligible*

Please leave a comment below describing your method of entry for the contest.

More about this product...


Changing Kids' Lives provides a very easy to use, straight forward approach for anybody interested in building charcter within today's children.  Teachers, coaches, and parents will all likely find the quotes highly inspirational, and Reifman's suggested talking points are great conversation starters for children.

I've personally found that a great way to use this book for a parent is to simply draw a page number at random, and have a family member read it at the dinner table.  Each quote leads to an inherent set of questions: "What did you think they meant" "How does this relate to you" etc.  After everybody discusses, you can read the remainder of Reifman's page in which he discusses points of emphasis.

In the classroom, you can do the exact same thing, and work it into part of your daily routine when you do calendar, weather, etc.  Each quote and talking point is less than one page, and is very straight forward focusing on common themes including health, wellness, attitude, and self-discipline.  Once you have established a routine, it is very easy to use this tool on a daily basis.

Reifman has several other works available on his website, some of which are pictured below:



For those of you interested in purchasing this book, please visit the author's site here
or you can purchase it through Amazon by clicking here.

Additional Information:

Do you have a product you'd like to offer as a give-away?
Would you like to advertise on this blog?
Interested in a product or site review?
Have a new item to launch?

If so, please contact me at: erinklein12@gmail.com

*Erin Klein is an affiliate of Amazon*

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